Interview: Hong Kong should strengthen law enforcement to deter violence: experts

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-28 18:06:34|Editor: Lu Hui
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HONG KONG, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- Legal experts are calling for full implementation of laws against various violent acts to put an end to the continued rioting in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has detailed and clear laws that empower the government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and its law enforcement branch to effectively curb violence and instability, said Leung Mei-fun, a member of the HKSAR Legislative Council and an associate professor at the Law School of City University of Hong Kong.

The laws need to be fully implemented, and lawbreakers must be punished, she said.

The Public Order Ordinance is clear on the control of gatherings and processions, she said, and radical protesters have obviously broken the law when they vandalized public facilities, blocked roads and trains, stormed into buildings and private houses, and threatened people.

According to the Police Force Ordinance, which is clear on the rights and powers of the police, it's unreasonable and unlawful for some metro stations, shopping malls and private buildings to refuse police entry or obstruct police work to seize violent destroyers, she said.

Given that police personnel in Hong Kong have been under significant physical and mental stress, Leung also suggested that the Hong Kong Police Force should hire more temporary personnel to strengthen its team.

In addition, special courts on rioting cases with judges familiar with such cases can be established to improve efficiency, she added.

By law, the police have the right to put an end to any gathering that threatens public security or disrupts social stability, Chan Man-ki, founder of CMK Lawyers, said.

To curb violence, it is necessary to step up arrests and prosecutions of suspects of violent crimes, Chan said. "If arrested suspects are let go without proper prosecution, the incitement of violence and crimes will not stop."

She also urged the police to focus more on agitators, inciters and planners behind the violent incidents to cut the roots of instability in Hong Kong.

Stepping up arrests of criminals and speeding up prosecution are the better option for now, said Gu Minkang, professor with the law school of City University of Hong Kong.

It is not without legal basis or precedent to impose curfew or martial law in Hong Kong, but these measures will have severe consequences on Hong Kong's business environment and international image, he added.